8 May 2012

Freescale launches GaAs-powered baseband-to-antenna reference design for small-cell base stations

Freescale Semiconductor of Austin, TX, USA has announced a new reference design for small office/home office (SOHO) base-station applications that is partially powered by two gallium arsenide (GaAs) monolithic microwave integrated circuits (MMICs).

The comprehensive baseband-to-antenna reference design combines the QorIQ Qonverge BSC9131 base-station system-on-chip (SoC) with Freescale RF radio boards, and is a multi-protocol solution that scales across a range of cellular bands to ease developers’ transition from 3G to 4G LTE. Sourcing the base-station SoC and RF devices from the same vendor speeds time to market and helps ensure optimal compatibility and integration, says the firm.

The Freescale GaAs MMIC devices deployed on the radio boards are the MMZ25332B and MMZ09312B amplifiers. Both provide high linearity and power efficiency and can cover multiple bands, including Band 1/WCDMA and Band 13/LTE. Along with the radio board, the MMICs can be easily tuned to support multiple UMTS frequency bands.

“Creating comprehensive femtocell base-station solutions using discrete components from multiple vendors is often cumbersome and expensive,” says Ritu Favre, VP & general manager of Freescale’s RF Division. “By combining RF radio boards and our new GaAs MMICs with QorIQ Qonverge technology, we’ve created a one-stop-shop for femtocells that reduces development time and offers designers scalability as they transition from 3G to 4G,” he adds.

The QorIQ Qonverge BSC9131 device features a scalable architecture that supports a range of air interfaces, including LTE, LTE-FDD & TDD and WCDMA/CDMA. It combines Power Architecture cores and high-performance StarCore DSPs with Multi-accelerator Platform Engine (MAPLE-B) technology for baseband processing. It also features interconnect fabric and next-node process technology, as well as glueless RFIC communication and antennae interfaces, eliminating the need for additional chips and reducing board space and cost.

The new MMZ25332B and MMZ09312B devices deployed on the radio board (designed by Freescale partner Benetel) belong to a family of RF GaAs MMICs for femtocells. The radio board also includes Freescale’s MML09211H and MML20211H low-noise amplifiers, which are designed specifically for the receiver sensitivity requirements of femtocells.

Freescale provides end-to-end silicon solutions that scale from femtocell to macrocell base-station applications, including Airfast RF power solutions, QorIQ Qonverge SoCs and RF GaAs MMICs. Although Freescale provides silicon RF power LDMOS power transistors used in wireless base stations, it holds numerous GaAs-related patents and was one of the first firms to develop devices based on GaAs technology. It also recently announced the Airfast 28V AFT26HW050GS LDMOS transistor, designed specifically for wide instantaneous-bandwidth microcell/metrocell LTE applications.

The new baseband-to-antenna reference design consists of two complementary boards: a QorIQ Qonverge femtocell base-station development board, and one or more RF radio boards. The BSC9131RDB QorIQ Qonverge reference design board is available for $900. Priced at $1700, the RF radio board is part number PSC913XRFBD-XXYY (with ‘XX’ and ‘YY’ representing the bands supported).

The GaAs MMIC family of devices for femtocell applications is available now and can also be purchased separately.

Tags: Freescale GaAs GaAs MMIC

Visit: www.freescale.com/RFMMIC

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